It looks like winter ,cloudy and it rains now and then but this did not stop us from taking a day trip back in time and I mean back in time to Beit Guvrin Caves N.P & Tel Marisha.
We took the old road to Jerusalem through the Yela Valley where the great event of David and Goliath took place ,it is a beautiful and preferred way to get to Jerusalem when you are not in a hurry, each time we drive this road we try to imagine “small” red head David with a sling shot facing Goliath the giant and putting him down with one shot between his eyes…amazing.
On the way we stopped at a local sculpture that put together few replicas of Bible scenes.
2 women came before King Solomon with one child,each one claiming it is her child.King Solomon ordered to cut him in half and then one women cried out “Do not cut him,give it to her….” King Solomon now was sure who is the baby’s mother and gave her the child (Clever ah…)
Here is a short History of Beit Guvrin Caves as it appears on the website.
Land of a thousand caves
Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park encompasses approximately 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of rolling hills in the Judean Lowlands. The hills, approximately 400 m above sea level, consist mainly of chalk overlaid with harder rock called nari. For thousands of years people have been cutting into the rock beneath the nari as quarries, burial caves, storerooms, industrial facilities, hideouts and dovecotes. They dug small openings into the nari, normally no more than two meters thick, and expanded the caves into the softer chalk beneath. Hundreds of such caves were dug at Bet Guvrin and its surroundings, creating subterranean networks of unparalleled complexity.
At a high point in the park is Tel Maresha, the highest city in the Judean Lowlands. It was fortified by King Rehoboam of Judah following the campaign to the region of the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak: “And Rehoboam...built cities for defense in Judah...Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph” (2 Chron. 11:5–8).
The city reached its height during the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE). The Hasmonean king, John Hyrcanus conquered the city in the second century BCE and forcibly converted its inhabitants. During the Roman period the inhabitants of Maresha abandoned it, building the city of Bet Guvrin nearby and transforming the latter into the capital of the region of western Idumea.
Bet Guvrin was an important city in the Crusader era as well. Eventually, the Arab village of Beit Jubrin was established among its ruins. It was abandoned during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
Visitors can follow the marked trail through the park using the map provided at the entrance, or drive from spot to spot.
The park is located off the Bet Shemesh-Kiryat Gat road (no. 35) opposite Kibbutz Bet Guvrin.
Main sites in the national park .
3 Columbarium Caves: Caves used for the raising of doves.
5 Agricultural area: an olive-oil press and grape-vat that can be operated by visitors.
6 Complex cistern systems: Huge cisterns that served the inhabitants of Maresha during the Hellenistic period.
7 Maze Cave (Complex 61): A system of about 30 interconnected caves, which visitors can traverse underground to understand how people made use of such spaces in antiquity, sensing the natural climate control. The exit turns out to be only a few meters away from the entrance.
8 Sidonian Burial Caves: A series of impressive burial caves from the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE), located at the foot of Tel Maresha and featuring reconstructed wall paintings. The paintings, proof of the presence of other cultures at Maresha, depict hunting scenes with wild and mythological creatures and shed light on ancient artistic techniques and crafts.
14 The Bell Caves: A series of 80 large caves, which the ancient inhabitants connected by passageways. The caves, the largest of which are over 5 meters high, were dug into the hard surface rock and quarried downward in the shape of a bell. Arabic inscriptions and crosses found on the walls show that many of the caves were dug during the Early Arab period, in the seventh–tenth centuries CE.
The Roman Amphitheater: This amphitheater was originally intended for gladiator fights to entertain the masses. Visitors can see the arena (a Latin word meaning sand), the ruler’s seat and the place where the wild animals emerged.
After the visit in the Caves we drove to a Kibbutz (Agriculture collective farm) for lunch.
Kibbutz Dinning Room
Kitchen Dishwasher….. Water,Soda tubs.
What a great day it was,we traveled in time touching history as it was THOUSANDS of years ago.
Thank you for watching,till we meet again.